This bill stinks! Puget Sound Energy’s warning for customers

September 4, 2013 at 9:22 am | In Safety, Utilities, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

If you receive paper bills from Puget Sound Energy, your next one will come with something that stinks – though the good news is, that won’t happen unless you activate it, but when you do, it will be a great teaching tool, at the very least! Here’s the utility’s announcement:

It’s a trip to the mailbox that could have heads turning. Billing statements from Puget Sound Energy arriving at more than 1.5 million homes and businesses now through October include a scratch and sniff pamphlet to remind customers of the smell that’s used to help identify natural gas leaks.

A scratch on the insert releases a distinctive, sulfur-like aroma similar to rotten eggs. To help detect gas leaks more easily, PSE and other natural gas utilities add an odorant called mercaptan to the natural gas, which is naturally odorless and colorless. Everyone in a family needs to recognize the odor, and know what to do if they smell it.

· If a natural gas odor is detected inside or outside a house or building, or if a leak is suspected, everyone should get out immediately.

· Do not switch any lights or appliances on or off.

· Do not use cell or landline phones.

· Do not use anything that might create a spark or has a flame, such a lighting a match or a cigarette.

· When far away from the area, call 911, or PSE’s 24-hour emergency hotline at 1-888-225-5773. PSE’s natural gas technicians will respond immediately from our service centers at no charge to check out a problem.

· A hissing sound, blowing dirt or bubbles in a puddle may also indicate a possible natural gas leak.

In addition to delivering a “rotten egg smell,” the pamphlet also reminds customers to call 811 to have underground utility lines located before having any work done to prevent injuries and damage.


  1. Won’t they ever learn? Just Ridiculous-
    Check this out.
    Montana Downtown Buildings Evacuated – Gas Leak or Scratch-N-Sniff?

    Comment by Smells like a farce! — 10:39 am September 4, 2013 #

  2. This is brilliant! Good work PSE! And Thank You WSB, for letting all of us know what to look for, all the info you included, and how to use it! I appreciate the extra knowledge on this. I also love the whole scratch n’sniff novelty coming back and being used in advertising! Makes me feel young again! :) Happy sniffing fellow PSE customers!

    Comment by dl — 10:48 am September 4, 2013 #

  3. They used to include these in the bills — little pieces of paper with the scratch and sniffs. It possibly saved my life — I moved into this house many years ago, and we’d put a new furnace in. I kept smelling that smell, which I’d only known about because of the little paper in my monthly bill. We had the service people out, and they couldn’t find anything wrong. But I kept smelling it, and finally had someone else come look at it and they found a gas leak.

    Comment by walkinggirl — 1:07 pm September 4, 2013 #

  4. @SmellsLAF- So what is the farce you speak of? Looks as if PSE is doing just the opposite by announcing in advance so citizens, USPS, and others know what to expect in this time frame. Safety first.

    Comment by Maria — 11:22 pm September 4, 2013 #

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